Sunday, May 6, 2012

Amir Nezam House

The Amir Nezam House (خانه امیر نظام), also known as The Qajar Museum of Tabriz, is a historical building in the Sheshghelan district, one of the oldest quarters of Tabriz in East Azerbaijan province. The House was built during the reign of Nasereddin Shah by Amir Nezam Garrousi who was the King’s chief of staff. Amir Nezam Garrousi was among the affluent and renowned dignitaries of his time and held important political and military posts. He was appointed Iran’s ambassador to London and also supervised and protected Iranian students studying in European cities. This important figure made moves that paved the way for bringing about fundamental social changes in Iran. Amir Nezam House was renovated during his time and in subsequent periods, the house was employed as the official residence of the provincial governors of Azerbaijan.

The building is a split-level façade and is hidden between a school and a children’s hospital. Today only parts of this building remain as other parts have been destroyed throughout history. The House has two stories and covers an area of 3,000 square meters with a built-in area of 1,500 square meters. Like other historical and important buildings of Tabriz, the House has two courtyards that are decorated with small gardens and large pools. The balcony of the building has 16 pillars, embellished with plasterworks similar to other regional historical buildings. Its adorned multicolored windows with adds to the beauty of the collection. Plaster and mirror works in its halls enhance the beauty of this building. There is also a large pool in the basement.

Because of persistent neglect over a long period of time, this building had come to be in such a bad state of disrepair that for a time it was seriously being considered to have it demolished with a school built in its place. Due to its historical precedence and value, the house was purchased by East Azerbaijan’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Department in 2001. Between 1993-2006 it had been subject to an extensive renovation process and since the completion of this undertaking it has been granted National Heritage status.

In 2006 Amir Nezam House was transformed into a specialized museum of Qajar period. Due to its historical importance, the museum hosts a large number of admirers of art, culture and history. The museum has 11 halls for displaying different artistic endeavors in various categories such as metal, stone, coins, music, weapons and architecture. Among the extraordinary articles in this museum are ceremonial clothing items of Haj Mohammad Hossein Haj Alilou (a nomadic tribe leader), a women’s jacket decorated with needlework and velvet decorated with patterns. Given the growth of music during Qajar period and presence of towering musicians in Tabriz, the Music Hall of the museum showcases the traditional Iranian and Azeri music of the time. The Stone Hall has a very exquisite marble inscription made in memory of the reconstruction of Tabriz after a devastating earthquake destroyed the city in 1193 AH and a stone engraved in memory of the coronation of Mozaffareddin Shah. Coin Hall showcases Qajar era coins belonging to the eras of Mohammad Ali Shah, Mozaffareddin Shah and Ahmad Shah.


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